A second half hat-trick in the space of fourteen minutes from Wayne Rooney enabled Manchester United to turn round a 2-0 half-time deficit and triumph 4-2 at West Ham. Despite dominating possession Manchester United looked to have handed the initiative back to Arsenal in the chase for the Premier League crown.
Two goals down at the interval, both penalties from Mark Noble, after defensive errors from Patrice Evra and Nemanja Vidic, seemed to have boosted the Hammers survival hopes until a stirring second half fight back from United.
The Reds have now won their last six league games against the Hammers.
On 65 minutes Rooney begins the comeback when he curls home a free kick. Eight minutes later and the equaliser arrives with a perfect finish which takes the England international's tally to 100 Premier League goals.
The third penalty of the afternoon arrives with 11 minutes remaining. Matthew Upson is harshly penalised for handball and Rooney converts from the spot.
With West Ham looking demoralised the visitor's add a fortunate fourth as Ryan Giggs effort heads wide until intercepted by Javier Hernandez to divert past Robert Green.
The Hammers remain the bottom three but Manchester United put a marker down to the chasing pack by leading the Premiership by eight points.
Referee: Lee Mason
Venue: Upton Park Attendance: 34,546
West Ham scorers: Noble (pen) 11, 25 Man Utd scorers: Rooney 65, 73, 79 (pen), Hernandez 84
WEST HAM 01 Green 15 Upson 22 Da Costa (yellow card) 36 Bridge 37 Jacobsen 08 Parker 11 Hitzlsperger 16 Noble (Keane 83) 32 O'Neil (Obinna 83) 09 Cole (Piquionne 68) 21 Ba
Substitutes 31 Boffin, 02 Reid, 05 Tomkins, 18 Spector, 30 Piquionne, 33 Obinna, 34 Keane
MAN UTD 29 Kuszczak 03 Evra (Hernandez 46) 12 Smalling 15 Vidic (yellow card) 20 Fabio Da Silva 11 Giggs 13 Park Ji-Sung (Berbatov 64) 16 Carrick 25 Valencia 28 Gibson (yellow card) 10 Rooney (Nani 87)
Substitutes 40 Amos, 45 Oliver Gill, 08 Anderson, 17 Nani, 07 Owen, 09 Berbatov, 14 Hernandez